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Titbits

Good stuff on the blogs I usually visit. Jason Soon posts on whether eating fish oil will reduce the murder rate. I consume this stuff so if true I will be a safer person to be around. Andrew Leigh has several interesting posts. One is to a paper by Bob Gregory and Paul Frijters on long-run trends in minimum wages another to the debate on the case for and against capital punishment. Joshua Gans promotes a conference on media ownership which I will try to attend. Finally I found these very useful daily summary of economics blogs here – you might consider bookmarking if you are into economics.

Apart from that I got several interesting reports. The Reserve Bank posted on growth in “net Australian debt” while the Treasurer, Mr Costello picked favourable bits out of the six-monthly IMF World Economic Outlook relating to Australia. He also gloats on why Australia is better-off having zero Commonwealth Government debt as from tomorrow here? The complete IMF report is here. I also got a nice papers on the role of outsourcing and contracting in Australian agriculuture (and other more general papers on agriculture) here.

Finally, my colleague Rob Waschik pointed out how excess demands for ice hockey matches are dealt with by a lottery system that eliminates inefficiencies associated with queuing while avoiding charging a market-clearing price. Fans wanting tickets were given numbered bracelets as they arrived at a box office. It’s the same system used to sell red-hot Madonna tickets recently. After a time officials began drawing numbers at random and those lucky enough to hear their number called are given the option of buying as many as six of the 7,000 available tickets. Colleague David Prentice responded with another example, the Collingwood (AFL) Football Club. If Collingwood gets into the AFL Grand Final, then all members in the top three tiers of membership (Captains, Legends and Social Club) are placed into a ballot for tickets – one membership – one ticket. Members do not have to notify the club if they are interested – the ballot is held automatically and if tickets are not taken up within a certain time, there is a second ballot and so on.

Finally, commentator Conrad pointed me to an interesting (if somewhat aged) report from the AIC on links between ethnicity and crime here. I’ve sought something like this for a while and the conclusions are interesting. I don’t know if there are more recent studies.

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